Faculty

Early Childhood Faculty

Lea Nelson-Gemmell

Apple Blossom Preschool Teacher

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Lea Nelson-Gemmell received her Waldorf teaching credentials from the Waldorf Institute of Southern California in San Diego and studied early childhood development and art at Grossmont College. She taught and helped develop a strong parent-child and preschool program at the Waldorf School of San Diego and taught parent-child, preschool and kindergarten classes at East Bay Waldorf School, Cedar Springs Waldorf School and Sacramento Waldorf School before joining Camellia Waldorf as a parent-toddler and preschool teacher.

Ms. Lea joined Camellia in 2015.

Contact Lea Nelson-Gemmell: lnelson@camelliawaldorf.org

Susan Bagley

Apple Blossom Preschool Teacher

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Susan Bagley is completing her degree in Early Childhood Education at Folsom Lake College and holds several Early Childhood Certificates, including her Teaching Certificate and Infant and Toddler Certificate. She has been working in Waldorf early childhood education for over 17 years, both as a class assistant and lead teacher. She began her journey in 2005 when her children joined a local Waldorf school and she accepted a position as a preschool assistant in an in-home Waldorf program. She then moved to Cedar Springs Waldorf School as a kindergarten assistant, and from there she joined Camellia, working as a preschool assistant, kindergarten assistant, aftercare teacher and preschool teacher. 

Ms. Susan joined Camellia in 2013

Contact Ms. Susan: sbagley@camelliawaldorf.org

Jazmin Pichardo

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Apple Blossom Preschool Assistant

Ms. Jazmin holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University Sacramento, and has 6 units of early childhood education. She has spent the past three years working in early childhood education and spent two years working with children in low income communities as a mentor and tutor.

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Jazmin is an advocate for social awareness, diversity and equity. She loves nature walks, biking, dancing and spending time with loved ones. Waldorf education has expanded Ms. Jazmin’s heart and mind, introducing her to a new way or working with children, one that leads with love and is centered around development and she is excited to learn more!

Ms. Jazmin joined Camellia in 2021

Contact Ms. Jazmin: jpichardo@camelliawaldorf.org

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Shannon Leigh

Orange Blossom Preschool Teacher

Shannon Leigh has 15 units of early childhood education, holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from Jacksonville University in Florida, and a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of California at Davis. 

 

Ms. Shannon has over10 years of teaching experience, working in both the grades and early childhood - preschool and kindergarten. Additionally, Shannon established Camellia’s Early Childhood Summer Camp program and served as the backup preschool director for several years. 

 

Ms. Shannon joined Camellia in 2012.

Contact Shannon Leigh:  sleigh@camelliawaldorf.org

Olga Morozova

Mulberry Kindergarten Teacher

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Olga Morozova has a master’s degree in psychology from State Pedagogical University in Russia and received her Waldorf early childhood teaching credential from Rudolf Steiner College. Ms. Olga has lived throughout the world, teaching in Russia, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. She has teaching experience in both formal and informal settings with both children and adults.

Ms. Olga joined Camellia in 2016.

Contact Olga Morozova: omorozova@camelliawaldorf.org

Catalina Soliman

Mulberry Kindergarten Assistant

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A former Waldorf student herself, Ms. Catalina attended the Waldorf school in Iasi, for grades 1through 12, and went on to complete three years of early childhood studies at Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, Romania. While at university, she studied different teaching methods, including Waldorf, Montessori and traditional primary education in Romania. Following her time at university, Ms. Catalina taught preschool and grades 1-4, eventually finding her way back to Waldorf education when she was offered a kindergarten teacher assistant position at Edinburgh Steiner School in Scotland. While there, she felt back at home and had the opportunity to work, study, and research amongst other anthroposophical therapists.

In her spare time, Catalina enjoys artistic activities like drawing, singing, painting; spending time with family, and traveling. She also wrote, illustrated, and published two children’s books.

Ms. Catalina joined Camellia in 2021

Contact Catalina Soliman: csoliman@camelliawaldorf.org

Courtney Wilson

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Sunflower Kindergarten Teacher

Courtney Wilson holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and religious studies from Eastern University, a master's degree in art history from American University, and an Art of Teaching Certificate from the Gradalis Waldorf Teacher Education Program. Additionally, Ms. Courtney is currently completing her Waldorf early childhood teacher training certificate at the Sound Circle Center in Seattle, Washington.  

 

Ms. Courtney has been a teacher for over nine years, including seven years in Waldorf schools as a kindergarten teacher, grades class teacher and subject teacher. In 2007, Ms. Courtney and her husband, Joshua, helped to found Escuela Caracol, Guatemala’s first Waldorf school. Ms. Courtney founded the kindergarten and taught in Spanish and English there for several years.

Early childhood education has always been close to Ms. Courtney's heart. She is a storyteller with a profound love of nature which she strives to bring to her classroom in innovative ways. 

Ms. Courtney joined Camellia in 2021.

Contact Courtney Wilson: cwilson@camelliawaldorf.org

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Steven Tritto

Sunflower Kindergarten Assistant

Steven holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the New College of California as well as an Master’s in Theater Theory and an MFA in Performance from the Experimental Performance Institute at the New College of California. He has studied at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training and is completing his teacher training at Great Lakes Waldorf Institute.

When not teaching he has the absolute privilege of helping guide his amazing daughter through the ups and downs of childhood as well as being taught many invaluable lessons by her. He and his family feel profound gratitude to Camellia Waldorf School and are honored to be part of this vibrant community.

Mr. Steven joined Camellia in 2021

Contact Steven Tritto: stritto@camelliawaldorf.org

Elementary and Middle School Faculty

Josiah Ferguson

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First Grade Teacher 
Long-term Substitute

Mr. Ferguson holds a bachelor's degree from Western Governors University where he studied education, with an emphasis on special education. He is earning his Waldorf teaching certificate from Rudolf Steiner College Canada as well as studying with Robyn Brown, doing his Curative teacher training.

Josiah discovered Waldorf education when it was time to enroll his daughter in school and through this discovery, was born his teacher training path. Mr. Ferguson has experience as a class assistant and grades teacher, having taught in both a Waldorf charter school and independent Waldorf school setting, and is thrilled to be back in the 1st grade. Josiah is passionate about anthroposophy and enjoys learning about the Curative work of Rudolf Steiner.

Mr. Ferguson joined Camellia in 2021.

Contact Josiah Ferguson: jferguson@camelliawaldorf.org

Elijah Egbert

Second Grade Teacher
Long-term Substitute

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Elijah Egbert has a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric from the University of California Berkeley and studied Philosophy at Sacramento City College. Mr. Egbert was a Waldorf student himself, attending Camellia Waldorf School through 8th grade, then completing high school at Sacramento Waldorf School. Elijah joined the Camellia faculty for the 2020-21 school year as a 1st and 2nd grade assistant and substitute teacher, where he gained a deep appreciation for the teaching side of Waldorf education. Following his time at Camellia, Mr. Egbert knew he wanted to train to become a Waldorf teacher and planned on moving to Stuttgart, Germany to complete his teacher training, but had to find a new training path due to COVID restrictions related to international students.

Elijah is a music educator and has taught in a variety of education-related positions, most recently at Art Beast, helping to enrich their language-arts program through storytelling, theatre arts and Eurythmy, all inspired by his life-long knowledge of Waldorf education.

Elijah is thrilled to be back in the classroom with the Class of 2028!

 

Mr. Egbert joined Camellia in 2021

Contact Elijah Egbert: eegbert@camelliawaldorf.org

Amber Fitts

Third Grade Teacher

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Amber Fitts earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. For nearly a decade, she worked in the nonprofit sector for the Fund for Public Interest Research and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in the fields of environmental advocacy and accounting. Drawn to teaching and the values of Waldorf education, Ms. Fitts earned teaching credentials in Waldorf education and eurythmy from Rudolf Steiner College.

 

Ms. Fitts taught Camellia’s class of 2018 from first through eighth grade and she is thrilled to continue her journey at Camellia with the class of 2027.

 

Besides teaching and curriculum preparation, Ms. Fitts’ passions are in the movement arts: yoga, eurythmy, modern dance, folk dance, and ballet. She also enjoys exploring creativity through the visual arts and spending time in nature; whether hiking, biking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, or just reading a book along the shores of the American River.

 

Ms. Fitts cultivates an active interest in world travel and cultures, having ventured through Thailand, the Yucatan, Ireland, Peru, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as many of America’s national parks.

 

Ms. Fitts joined Camellia in 2010.

Contact Amber Fitts: afitts@camelliawaldorf.org

Hanna Schaffer

Fourth Grade Teacher

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Hanna Schaffer has a bachelor’s degree in theater, which she earned from California State Universities Fresno and Sacramento. She earned her Waldorf teaching certificate from Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene (WTEE), in Eugene, Oregon. Before coming to Camellia, Ms. Schaffer taught elementary and middle school at Cedar Springs Waldorf School. She has also taught in a variety of education-related positions including ceramics and theater and as a literacy tutor. Working with children has always been her passion, and Ms. Schaffer is delighted to be a teacher at Camellia.

Ms. Schaffer joined Camellia in 2018

Contact Hanna Schaffer: hschaffer@camelliawaldorf.org
 

Anastasia Sinclair

Fifth Grade Teacher

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Anastasia Sinclair has a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies and environmental design from Warren Wilson College and a master’s degree in Waldorf education from Rudolf Steiner College. As a child, Ms. Sinclair was a Waldorf student and graduated high school from Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm in Santa Rosa. Ms. Sinclair has taught children from first through 12th grade in Waldorf schools, most recently at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Los Altos and Mountain View, where she coordinated an extensive school gardening program and taught earth science in middle school and high school.

Ms. Sinclair joined Camellia in 2019

Contact Anastasia Sinclair: asinclair@camelliawaldorf.org

Sarah Casebeer

Sixth Grade Teacher

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Sarah Casebeer has a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of New Hampshire and earned her Waldorf teacher certificate from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training.

 

A Camellia parent for more than 10 years, Ms. Casebeer taught Camellia’s class of 2017 and has also been a substitute teacher and an assistant teacher in kindergarten at Camellia.

 

Ms. Casebeer Joined Camellia in 2009

Contact Sarah Casebeer: scasebeer@camelliawaldorf.org

Josh Amaral

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Seventh Grade Teacher

Josh Amaral has a bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on grammar and composition from California State University Chico. More recently, he earned a master’s degree in teaching from the University of San Francisco and has California single subject teaching credentials in English and social science. Before relocating to Sacramento, Mr. Amaral taught in Chico area charter schools, where he worked with all age groups in kindergarten to 12th grade.

Mr. Amaral is an avid performer with an appreciation for live theater, music, creative writing, and the arts. He served as a youth instructor for the Chico Theater Company for four years, during which he participated in more than six youth productions and nearly twenty main stage productions. He also plays numerous instruments and is a firm believer in the power of rhythm and melody and their effect on the growing mind. Mr. Amaral enjoys photography in its many forms, painting, writing poetry and short stories, and reading classic fiction.

 

Mr. Amaral joined Camellia in 2017

Contact Josh Amaral: jamaral@camelliawaldorf.org

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Kiersen Clerkin

Eighth Grade Teacher

Kiersen Clerkin earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and information studies from the University College in Dublin, Ireland. She has always enjoyed working with young people; spending many summers as a camp counselor. Most recently, Ms. Clerkin taught and graduated the class of 2018 at Davis Waldorf School.

 

Ms. Clerkin attended Davis Waldorf School from kindergarten through eighth grade and graduated high school from Sacramento Waldorf School. A Waldorf “lifer,” Ms. Clerkin loves Waldorf education.  She believes that the middle school years are the time in which the birth of the intellect and independent thinking takes place. It is a time of wit and exploration. She is thrilled to be guiding a new group of young people through ancient Greece to modern America, exploring the excitement of physics and chemistry, and getting to see the spark that ignites in the students’ eyes when they are loving what they are learning!

 

When not teaching, Ms. Clerkin enjoys traveling, the outdoors, camping and hiking, and spending time with her family and two dogs.

 

Ms. Clerkin joined Camellia in 2018

Contact Kiersen Clerkin: kckerkin@camelliawaldorf.org

For more information on our staff, we invite you to get in touch.